Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Ruby Brown

Nov. 25, 1923 - July 16, 2018


August 23, 2018

Ruby Irene Krom Brown

Ruby Irene Krom Brown

On July 16, 2018, Ruby Irene Krom Brown passed away. Our beloved mother was born and raised on the family farm near Dusty, Washington. She was confirmed in German, in what is now the The Country Bible Church and graduated from Lacrosse High School in 1941.

She joined her sisters, Margaret and Alma, in Spokane upon graduation and went on to further her education at Kinman Business University. She was subsequently employed as an executive secretary at Bell Telephone, her penmanship and shorthand skills now a lost art.

Ruby and her sisters were living in Spokane on December 7th, 1941. One of her most poignant stories of that day... she, Alma and Margaret were attending the First Presbyterian Church Sunday service that morning when, in the middle of the service, the Reverend Dr. Paul Calhoun was quietly interrupted by a man. After a seemingly long pause, Dr. Calhoun announced Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, had been attacked, gave a prayer for the nation, instructed the singing of God Bless America and dismissed the congregation. These three girls, from a farming community, returned to their boarding house where their landlady had them come into the parlor and they all listened to the radio. They questioned Mrs. Wilkerson about what this all meant... she explained how these events would change all of their lives and indeed it did. In 1944, our mother married our father, Lt. Gordon Brown of Connecticut, in that very church.

She went on to travel the world as an Air Force officer's wife, living in Japan and Taiwan as part of her travels. She entertained and was entertained by Ambassadors, Generals and everyone in between. During her life as an Air Force wife, she won awards for flower arranging, hat design and Christmas decorating at various bases around the world and was often sought after for her creative talents.

In 1971, she moved to Issaquah, Washington, and began a career with Nordstrom's where she achieved Pacesetter awards for tops sales within the company. She helped Mrs. Elliot Roosevelt style her mother-of-the-groom ensemble. She retired from Nordstrom's in 1986 and joined her daughter and son-in-law in San Francisco to resume her travels, touring countries throughout the world.

Even with moving 52 times in her adult life, many of her fondest memories were of her years as a child, of her German-speaking grandmother Dippel at the stove, cooking a pot of soup and the aroma of fresh bread and the taste of homemade butter whenever they went to visit. In her youth, she briefly dreamed of becoming a soprano and studied voice during her junior year in high school under Frances Yeend of the Metropolitan Opera. She joyfully sang throughout her life in various choirs and most happily harmonized with her sisters whenever they got together, with Margaret at the piano. She loved to read throughout her life and dreamed of things to come... but sacrificed some of those dreams for her children as a loving and nurturing mother.

She eventually retired to Sun City West, Arizona, in 1997 where she continued to enjoy the visiting musical stars of stage, screen and television offered by the Del Webb SunDome.

Born on November 25, 1923, her journey has taken her far and wide. Now she returns home, to the wheat fields of her youth, where she will rest among her family.

A graveside service and internment will take place on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 10 AM at the Dusty Cemetery. Pastor Lynn Nelson of the Colfax Plymouth Congregational Church has graciously offered to lead the celebration of life.

Ruby is survived by sons, Michael and Nathan; daughter, Susan and son-in-law, James; sisters, Virginia Sanders of Colfax, Joanne Kimmel of Talent, Ore, Claudia Marshall of Renton Wash, and brother, John Krom and wife, Kay of Pullman; and many wonderful nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by an infant son, Jonathan William; her parents, John and Elizabeth Krom; and her sisters, Margaret Bolz and Alma Natwick.

Arrangements through Bruning Funeral Home.


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